So, you never quite get the JAWS taste out of your mouth, but the texture of THE SHALLOWS is different. Nancy(Blake Lively)’s mom has passed away from what is surely cancer and she’s now bitten by wanderlust, going to places her mother had gone while pregnant with her. She finds herself in Mexico at an unnamed beach. It’s beautiful. Paradise. An escape from reality. If you paid attention to the ads when this came out last year or simply looked at the poster, you’ll know that won’t last long. After a nice surfing montage, we find ourselves quickly in a “woman vs. wild” situation for the remaining 75 minutes. There is panic, isolation, escalation and triumph. By the end, we feel nice but still kind of give the finger to swimming in the ocean. At least I do. I’ve never liked the ocean. Movies like this just reinforce that I would be a LOUSY partner if we happened to be lost at sea(or even in…ahem…THE SHALLOWS) together.
There is nothing surprising about this film, but that’s not to say it’s boring or bad. Blake Lively gives a great performance and the film literally rests completely on that. Also, we don’t get enough movies where women get this kind of central push. 20 years ago, they probably would have cast Tom Hanks in this sucker. But, Lively truly owns this story and does a great job. While the storytelling tropes were fairly obvious, she really shines. Look, I don’t need to tell you what to do, but if asked, I would recommend it as a nice Saturday night on the couch with your significant other. It’s “scary enough” to get you snuggling with each other, which is never a bad thing in this critic’s opinion. Anyway, if you’re already in the bag for shark movies, I’m sure you’ll like it. If not, just move along.